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Twenty Five Tips for Time Management for Adults with ADHD

By Eileen Bailey

Adults with ADHD consistently complain about the inability to manage their time efficiently.  The following are twenty-five tips to help you better manage your time. While all of these tips may not fit into your situation, you may be able to choose one or two tips to help improve how you spend your time.

  • Write down your short term and long-term goals. Use your short term goals as your daily planner, reviewing each evening to determine what has been completed and what still needs to be done. Your long term goals should be broken down into manageable tasks that can then be included as part of your short term goals and therefore put on your daily planner.
  • Use a scoring system, such as “A,” “B,” and “C” as a way to prioritize your tasks. As you complete your things to do list, give each task a priority rating. You will know at a glance which tasks are the most important and should be completed first.
  • Ask for time to consider any new requests for your time. Learn to say “no” to requests that will not fit into your schedule or those that you do not feel you will be able to provide adequate attention to.
  • Work on tasks you don’t want to do first. Many people find that completing the tasks they find unpleasant or boring first will help to motivate them to complete more tasks during the day.
  • Use technology to remind you of important events. Use the alarm on your cell phone or online calendars to help remind you of what you need to complete or where you need to be.
  • Delegate tasks whenever possible. When at home, if tasks can be delegated to your spouse or children, then ask them for their help. When at work, if you are able to delegate tasks to others.
  • Use email when possible. A simple email can sometimes take the place of a 10-minute phone conversation. If email will work, without taking away from what you are accomplishing, then send off a quick email and have the task completed in just a moment or two.
  • Turn off your cell phone or house phone if you are in the middle of completing a task in order to avoid interruptions. You can also listen to messages later and return phone calls when it is more convenient to you.
  • Set aside a certain time each day to answer emails and return phone calls to avoid interrupting your train of thought and concentration throughout the day.
  • Slow down to make sure a task is completed right the first time. Repeating efforts is not only frustrating but takes two times as much of your time. Even if a task is taking more time than you thought it would take, it is still important to get it done right the first time.
  • Use a timer to keep you on track. This is helpful if you tend to hyperfocus on tasks and lose track of time. Setting a timer for when it is time to move on to the next task can help you stay on schedule.
  • Take a break and exercise for a few minutes, even if it is stretching at your workstation. This short break will help clear your mind and allow you to focus better.
  • Routinely delete unnecessary emails. Keeping emails that you no longer need can overwhelm you and cause you to slow down or not get started at all in answering emails. If you are not ready to delete an email, make a folder to keep your emails so you can quickly go through new emails.
  • Break down large projects into small tasks and work on completing them one step at a time rather than being overwhelmed by a daunting task.
  • Understand your own internal clock. Learn when you work best. If you are more productive in the morning, schedule your most difficult tasks to be completed then.
  • Look for ways to enjoy whatever you are doing. By finding some enjoyment in every task, you will do a better job and do it quicker.
  • Keep a notebook with you at all times to jot down what needs to be completed, dates you need to remember or other important information. Later, when it is time to use this information, you will not waste time trying to recall it.
  • Look at what you are doing now so you can make changes and improve how you manage your time.
    At times you procrastinate, evaluate the situation to determine what you are avoiding. Once you come to terms with that, you might be able to tackle the task easier.
  • Keep small tasks with you to work on while you are waiting in line, waiting on hold or waiting for someone.
  • Set deadlines for yourself on projects and work toward meeting those deadlines.
  • Keep a master calendar so that you can look forward into your week or month and try to plan for situations that may cause problems later.
  • Trust in your judgment. Second guessing yourself can waste precious time.
  • Schedule your days so that routine tasks are completed at the same time each day. You will find they go quicker as you are familiar with them and you can work quickly through the routine tasks.
  • Give yourself rewards for completing tasks.

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